Backwards and Forwards

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In AmE, we use them interchangeably. Although backwards and forwards are less common. PeterShor So you would say that a car is forwards of a Stop line? Or simply use forward as the adverbial form? Given that English adverbs are usually impossible to distinguish from English adjectives in actual constructions how many ELU questions and answers suggest that something is or isn't an adverb, and speculate on why or why not? Is there a study of UK usage? Beyond "guides", I mean -- actual linguistic surveys with data and statistics.

In the United States, the forms are used as PeterShor describes. Their usage here is similar to that of toward s and beside s. I take your point, however, that the Brits don't seem to be weighing in. My above comment to you, with specific reference to AmE, however, was not ignoring your original answer; it was responding to your question to PeterShor, and you were asking about American usage. As for your original answer here, I found it excellent, and upvoted it.

Landsberg Mar 30 '13 at Featured on Meta.

Backwards & Forwards

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Showing Rating details. Sort order. May 08, Dave Logghe rated it it was amazing. This text is incredible. I've been reading plays for about 14 years now, so I kind of thought I had the process of script reading down pretty well, but this book has changed how I will read scripts, probably forever. The concept of reading a play is simple, but Backwards and Forwards pinpoints very succinctly the elements to look for as a reader, especially when reading as an actor, director or designer. I got about two chapters in before I realized I needed to start highlighting key points. I d This text is incredible.

I don't normally do that unless it's required reading for a class. Which really, this should be, for all early-level acting courses. I can't wait to apply this to future readings of scripts, or even re-readings of scripts I read before reading this. Feb 27, Alex rated it it was amazing. It is a bitter joke among my screenwriter friends that the way you get a TV show is that you create a truly interesting character, in a fascinating environment, whose family has complicated, fraught dynamics What is up with that guy?

If Othello had been in his shoes, he'd have killed off Claudius in Act One, scene 2. To be fair, if Hamlet had been in Othello's shoes, he'd It is a bitter joke among my screenwriter friends that the way you get a TV show is that you create a truly interesting character, in a fascinating environment, whose family has complicated, fraught dynamics To be fair, if Hamlet had been in Othello's shoes, he'd have laid a trap for Iago.

He makes the interesting point that to understand a play you have to read it, yep, backwards and forwards. Going forwards, anything can happen. Hamlet could find out his mother's married his uncle after his father died mysterious, and bugger off back to Wittenberg U. Hamlet could avoid the poisoned blade. Hamlet could turn out to have ingested small portions of the poison over years to render himself immune to it.

Only then can you understand how the play is constructed. And, in doing so, he makes a much more specific point. Hamlet is not at all indecisive -- once he knows that Claudius is guilty of murdering his father in Act Three. How so? Well, you see, in Elizabethan times, if you saw a ghost, you had no way of knowing if it was your father, as it appeared to be, or a vision sent by a witch or a devil. Sure, the ghost says that Claudius murdered him.

But maybe he's lying! So, for the first three acts, Hamlet is a detective. He adopts a pose of madness. He organizes a play for Claudius to watch about a nobleman who snatches a crown by murdering his brother -- and then he closely observes Claudius's reaction to it. He gives a soliloquy about killing himself when he knows that Polonius is spying on him. It is not, in fact, a soliloquy! He is not indecisive. He does not know the facts. He very decisively seeks to get them.

Shakespeare is a funny playwright for modern audiences and modern theatre companies. His language is some of the best poetry in English. His plays, however, are not "poetic" at all. They are not "art plays. They have fast-moving plots, with twists and turns. And the damn things are well nigh bulletproof.

If you put on a Shakespeare play as is, you have one difficult task: get the actors to understand what the hell it is they're trying to say, and then say it like that is the way they talk. If you can do that, the play will work. It will work in period costumes, it will work in modern dress, it will work with the city guards wearing Victorian bobby helmets, it will work when all the characters are women and Mercutio is mortally wounded with a butter knife.

If you can figure out what people are saying, it is not at all hard to figure out what is going on.

backward(s) and forward(s)

Someone will quickly tell you, often three times. Richard III starts his play by telling you that he is a bad, bad man. On the other hand, if the actors don't know what they're saying, or think they're presenting poetry instead of people trying to get what they want by talking to other people, then it becomes a morass of poetic syllables. Good poetic syllables, very good, very excellent good, and yet they are but so so, because but no one wants to sit through five acts of that.

Shakespeare is also a funny playwright because his characters are so much more immediate and straightforward than most fictional characters in the intervening Victorian period, that we forget that he is a man from a different time. When he puts witches in his play, he means witches. They're not a metaphor, they're not just a plot device, they're actual witches.

Everyone knows witches are real! Likewise his father's ghost is not a plot device, it is a real conundrum true ghost? Hamlet's audiences were also extremely wary of the notion of killing kings, as we are not.


Backwards and Forwards is a very short book, under a hundred pages, practically a pamphlet, so you have absolutely no excuse not to read it, whether you are a screenwriter or game designer, because it gets to the essence of what storytelling is. Go on. You won't be sorry. Apr 23, Ann rated it really liked it. Another overdue book from the library. Recommended by 'becoming a dramaturgist' friend Deb, I had to ask my local library to find it somewhere else in the state. By the time I got the book, the time allowed to read, even this slim book, was not adequate. He has impeccable credentials since then as well.

That being said, I found some of his writing rather juvenile. He refers to those who don't und Another overdue book from the library.


He refers to those who don't understand a play as "dumb readers". Once you get past those types of comments, which are probably meant to draw in the especially educated readers of his book and as a joke, his concept of playreading is fascinating. His primary suggestion is that you cannot understand a play in totality unless you can connect all the dots. Why do things happen and what propels them and he posits that by being able to start at the end and work your way to the beginning of the play you will see those important connections. A crucial read for directors, playwrights, and dramaturgists.

May 15, Matthew rated it it was amazing Shelves: vtreadingchallenge , books-i-own. I stumbled across this book at my local thrift store and decided to give it a go because the summary said it was a guide to playreading that used Hamlet as its primary example.

Backward and forward - Idioms by The Free Dictionary

I love the play Hamlet and figured, sure, I could use this book for a reading plan I'm doing in the "book about public speaking" category. With so little expectations, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, it's fantastic. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get more out of reading plays, st I stumbled across this book at my local thrift store and decided to give it a go because the summary said it was a guide to playreading that used Hamlet as its primary example.

While at first glance this book contains common sense observation, the exploration of those deceptively simple methods leads to some great insight. I disagree with other reviewers who say the book doesn't reveal anything you couldn't get out of a High School English class. I have read countless books on Shakespeare and his plays, and this book and the methods it details provided new insights for me.

Good read. View 1 comment. Oct 05, Leah rated it did not like it. If it weren't a required textbook.

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Some of us who didn't want to give him any money found it in library reserves. Here's why I didn't want to give him any money: 1. A lot of what is said should be obvious to anyone who's seen more than like two plays in thier life. I don't want anyone who hasn't had more theater exposure than that to have anything to do with the theater I see, or especially by god based on personal experience help to produce, so no sympathy.

Most of the rest of what is said is his opinion. Which is fine but should not be presented as gospel. Or, 3. Like a huge dick who thinks he's really the shit when it comes to interpreting. Dec 11, Emanuella rated it really liked it Recommends it for: writers in general, playwrights specifically. Shelves: theater , writing-aids.

Although this book was written for actors and directors, I thought it was really insightful for how stories are constructed. Chapter five in particular talks about how people only speak when they want something. I thought this was great advice for any writer. Everything you write has to be because one of the characters wants something from another character. People don't monologue into the "ether. Aug 05, Deb rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. An essential book for storytellers of all stripes, not just for playwrights, directors, and actors.

If you're a fiction writer, it'll be useful. You might want to get your hands on Shakespeare's Hamlet while you're reading this, as many examples are drawn from it. I was left dying to reread the play. Oct 24, Mark Adderley rated it it was amazing. An excellent analysis of how to read and write drama--very useful indeed. Jan 21, Justen Bennett rated it liked it Shelves: theatre.

Might be good for someone just starting out as a director but doesn't offer much to the more established. Jan 15, Jamie rated it it was amazing. Any writer who specializes in fiction should read this. Playwrights and screenwriters will benefit most from Ball's teachings. As well, anyone who reads, attends, performs in, or produces drama should read this. Not only should it be mandatory reading, readers should also be required to practice the principles Ball provides in specific detail with specific reading assignments and exercises.

Feb 28, Libby rated it really liked it. Read this lil book for a script analysis class. It's got every basic thing you need to know.